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Aluminum case repair, broken fins, etc.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:42 pm
by hennesse
Arno's Custom Machine & Welding
6707 Adelphi Rd, University Park, MD 20782
(301) 779-0438

Arno St. Denis specializes in welding and machine work on motorcycle engines - particularly aluminum engine case repair and repair of broken cylinder fins.

He has repaired my damaged Henderson lower crankcase, and has repaired Hen crankcases for a number of members of the AMCA Chesapeake Chapter. He also welded the Hen's damaged generator bracket.

My 1954 KH transmission drain plug was stripped, and the engine oil drain had previously been heli-coiled. I don't like heli-coils, as they tend to eventually come out - usually at the most inopportune time. I had Arno drill out the areas, weld in pieces of aluminum billet, then machine new drain holes. For both the Hen and KH repairs, you can hardly tell that they have been repaired.

Arno is a one-man business, working out of his home shop, in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. He does an excellent job and his prices are reasonable for this specialized work. Turn-around time is variable depending on workload, but is usually 2 or 3 weeks. Both times he finished the job at the price quoted - in the timeframe quoted.

Re: Aluminum case repair, broken fins, etc.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:51 pm
by Mayday53
Interesting, I am about to have my drain heli-coiled due to it being stripped.

Re: Aluminum case repair, broken fins, etc.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:38 am
by ThumpStreet
I like to post a note of positive reinforcement relating to Arno St.Denis's level of craftsmanship.I sent Arno my 69 XLCH engine case to correct a cracked L/H main bearing boss,primary case floor blown out that had a shabby repair attempt,mashed main shaft thrust washer anti rotation pin and a very stubborn broken off oil pump stud.I received the case back with all issues resolved and almost no evidence that the case had ever been touched.Most definitely top shelf workmanship.This is a turning point for my XLCH project as now I can begin the engine build with the confidence that I have a solid foundation to start with.Peter

Re: Aluminum case repair, broken fins, etc.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:33 am
by Mayday53
I am curious...I had to have my 53 K model case drain plug heli-coiled, cleaned u, and a relatively small (3") crack repaired at a local machine shop in MN. It cost me $600.00 because "only a few people know how to do it right, so you are gonna pay more for my experience."

To be clear, I am happy with the results, so that is good, but I am curious if that is on par with other metallurgist's work?

Re: Aluminum case repair, broken fins, etc.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:58 pm
by sportsterpaul
I used Puccio Welding when I lived in San Jose. I suspect he would do that job for 50 bucks. I once went to a "jobber" welder a few blocks away, and they wanted hundreds for what Kenny did for 20 bucks. The jobber used an industrial furnace to preheat, Kenny used a wood stove. I once saw a job where he build up aluminum fins on a dirt bike and you could not tell they were broken-- how the heck he can extend horizontal fins like that (while the engine was still in the bike!) never ceased to amaze me.

When the kickstand lug broke off my Sporty, I would just ride to Puccio's and he would flop the bike rear shock onto a milk crate so he could get his his MIG in and weld it up. Same deal, 20 bucks, and I rode home.

I bought a bike Kenny built that won an engineering award from the Oakland Roadster show:

Decades ago heliarc (aka TIG) was 25 dollars an inch, so you didn't get ripped off, but there are good-ol boys that might do as well, like Dave's guy and Kenny.

Kenny still hangs around the shop and does odd jobs that interest him, but the bulk of the business is now done by his son Kerry. ... s-san-jose

He used to do tons of work on Harleys but years ago he told me the dirt bike guys are his main business-- they pay, go and break things, pay again, repeat. I got great service from Kenny, but he liked me since I brought in a set of head that had been shot 4 times with a 44 magnum. (She said "if I ever see another girl on his bike it would be the last time---"). Fifth shot went into the oil bag. Since she was both bat-shiat crazy and smart, she left one in the chamber to get out of the house.

The other thing I did that endeared me to Kenny is when some scumbags cut through his roof and stole a set of K-model cases to sell as aluminum scrap (oh the humanity!). I had been given a K-model bottom end by a friend of a friend, so I took out the KH wheels, which I still have, and gave the cases to Kenny, so he could at least reimburse his customer. Later the guy that gave me the cases got in an accident and needed welding-- and yeah, I went down to make sure Kenny knew this guy giving me the cases for free was why I could give Kenny the cases for free. Great Mandala Wheel of Life.